The name Roger Toussaint stirs up many different emotions depending on who you ask. Some will tell you that he was a fearless leader who fought the who’s who in New York for the benefit of his members. Ask others & they will say his run as Transport Workers Union Local 100 (TWU Local 100) President was done with an iron fist. Lastly if you were to ask riders, most would selfishly hate him for the inconvenience caused by the 2005 transit strike which was justified. Regardless of your feelings towards the man, his time as President of TWU Local 100 will be coming to an end as he will not seek re-election. William Neuman of the New York Times has more in this report:
The leader of Transport Workers Union Local 100, Roger Toussaint, will not run for re-election of the local, which represents subway and bus workers, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
Mr. Toussaint led the local on a 60-hour strike in December 2005 that disrupted the city. He later served four days in jail for his role in the walkout, which violated the state’s Taylor Law that bans public sector unions from striking.
Mr. Toussaint was first elected local president in 2000, when he ran as a dissident against the union power structure. He was re-elected in 2003 and again in 2006.
Last year Mr. Toussaint was appointed director of strategic planning for the international union, the local’s parent. Without resigning his post as the head of the local, he appointed an acting president, Cutis Tate, to take care of day-to-day union business.
Click here for the complete report.
As far as I am concerned, I feel the best way to accurately describe his run would be to mix the first two emotions I described at the onset of this entry. Regardless of whether you liked Roger or not, you can not deny that he did go to war with top officials in New York trying to get just due for his members. However I can’t say his run was not run with an iron fist as it clearly was.
His run was also filled with some questionable decisions. While the 2005 transit strike was justified, it is inexcusable for him to have accepted a deal worse than what was offered prior considering the punishment the union would face for going on strike. Such decisions like this helped create the feeling that he was no longer the best man for the job. The growing percentage of members who wanted him gone should be quite happy as they got their wish. Lets hope the next leader can continue the positive things accomplished during Roger’s tenure.
xoxo Transit Blogger